If you’ve ever met Dudley, you know this one thing to be true: He’s always (and we mean always) busy.
Whether he’s tossing a ball around with Tom Brady, learning ballroom dancing, or jetting off to Paris, France, since graduating in 2010, this Threshold Program alum is go, go, go. Now a resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, he’s living a full, independent life, which he credits to the support he gained at Lesley University.
“The Threshold Program was very supportive,” says Dudley, a Stamford, Connecticut native who transferred to Lesley for a change of pace and access to city life. “They were willing to go out of their way to help me and to improve my self-confidence.”
Using the independent living skills he developed at Threshold through the two-year Core program as well as the Bridge Year and Transition Year programs, Dudley is making his mark in the Boston community and the professional world.
“Some of the things I’m really excited about when I wake up in the morning are starting a new day at work or getting together with friends,” says Dudley, who begins most of his days by riding the T into downtown Boston. There, he works as a Marketing Coordinator at John Hancock. While delivering mail and assisting the Meeting and Event Management Team take up most of his workday, what he really loves about his job are the connections he’s developing.
“I learn a lot of new things. I get to help out with the Boston Marathon. And I also get to build my professional relationships,” says Dudley. “One of my greatest accomplishments so far was when I was named the John Hancock Employee of the Year through the Best Buddies Jobs Program.”
After work, Dudley sometimes meets with his living advisor, who checks in with him once a week to help him pay bills, set financial priorities for the week, and assist with chores. You might also find him at the Lesley University Fitness Center, where he squeezes in workouts two to three times per week, relaxing with friends, or cooking dinner with his roommate, who’s also a Threshold alum.
“Living with a roommate from the Threshold Program has been a great experience,” says Dudley. “You always have someone to talk to, cook dinner with, or hang out with.”
Having a Threshold roommate is just one of many ways that Dudley stays connected to the program. With 65 percent of Threshold alumni sticking around Cambridge after graduation, there’s always someone to see and something to do. For Dudley, weekends are full of social activities with Threshold friends, from going to movies to learning ballroom dance to watching sporting events.
“What I enjoy about living in Cambridge/Somerville is that I can go a lot of different places,” says Dudley. “There are a lot of people I can trust here. The neighborhoods are really nice and very protective.”
But when things get challenging, as they sometimes do when you’re living on your own, Dudley knows he always has someone he can turn to at Threshold.
“I visit the Alumni Center for support, and they help me in so many different ways, like if I need someone to talk to about work or personal issues,” reflects Dudley. “They give me strength and self-confidence.”
While Dudley doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in his professional or personal life, he does recognize that learning to become independent is a process. And so he has one piece for those who are just starting out:
“Just take it one day at a time. Everything will come into place. Be yourself, and you will go very far in life.”